College was this weird little bubble where all of my potential boyfriends were pre-selected for me by a group of counselors in the Admissions Office. My school was so small that before I got involved with anyone I pretty much knew everything about them through the combined powers of mutual friends and Facebook. I always felt fairly confident that the guys I had my eye on were okay—they weren’t, I assumed, axe murderers in disguise. But now that I’m in the Real World of Adulthood, there is no pre-screen for my dates other than Google. The tiny college town where I knew everyone has been replaced by the much-bigger East Coast city where I barely know anyone. For the past four weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out where exactly one meets men post-grad. Here are my findings:
At the bank:
The other day as I’m walking to my new bank to complain about some error they have already made, I run into a group of people promoting Sabra Hummus by giving out free containers of their product along with bags of SunChips. Considering my less-than-affluent status, I gladly take their offerings. As I continue on to the bank, I run into yet another Sabra cart, and quickly stuff my first round of samples into my bag so I can collect another round. (Yes, I am that cheap. Hey, a girl’s gotta eat.) Long story short, I enter the bank juggling three bags of chips and a stack of hummus containers. As I’m waiting in the seating area to talk to someone, this dude who’s grungy but not unattractive and is also waiting there strikes up a conversation with me. He attempts to make a joke about the huge bowl of complimentary lollipops on the table, asks me if I’m still in school (Whyyyyy do I look so young? I’m in graduate school, man!), and tells me that he is a pianist (Did he just say he’s a penis? What? Oh. I may be in grad school, but I am still immature). When his banker comes for him, he gets up and goes to shake my hand, which is embarrassingly difficult because first I have to slowly transfer all of my free food to my non-dominant hand. So much for smoothness. Unsurprisingly, he does not ask me for my number.
Crossing the street:
As I’m making my way through the crosswalk, this old and I think homeless guy walks right at me, and I have to change course at the last minute to avoid crashing into him. “Hellllllo” he says in deep voice. I proceed to run away.
Finally, with no success, I begin seeking advice. “Where do you meet guys?” I ask a friend of mine who has lived in the area for a while, trying desperately not to sound desperate. “At bars,” she says. At bars? I’ve always been kind of wary of that. I don’t know why—there’s nothing wrong with meeting a guy at a bar. I guess it’s the part of me that wants to have a really cool story about how I met my guy. Like, I want to be able to tell people that we did meet randomly at the bank or crossing the street, or because we both reached for the same book at the same time at the bookstore, or because we were both eating alone at a restaurant and decided to share a meal. I like the idea of meeting someone spontaneously, and somehow meeting a guy at a bar just seems so…expected. But where, you ask, have I had the best dude turnout? At bars, of course. Last Saturday night I accrued two people’s phone numbers and three new Facebook friends, and those individuals were all dudes. And one of them has been texting me, so it might actually be…promising? We’ll see. But you heard it here first: the bar is a den of love. I especially recommend beer gardens; if your experience is anything like mine, your friend will buy you a huge beer and before you know it you’ll have assembled a clique out of the people you met in the bathroom line.